Eudora Welty's "A Worn Path" is a fantastic journey through an elderly woman's daily struggles. The plot is clear from the beginning. The major character is identified at the start and the story begins smoothly. Phoenix Jackson's background is easily understood as Welty describes her as "an old Negro woman with her head tied in a red rag." She also tells us that Phoenix lives far out in the country and that she was "very old and small and she walked slowly." This sets up her story. At first, the reader almost seems to be able to walk with Phoenix on her path because the description of her surroundings is so well stated. Her conflicts she encountered on her journey were with nature, a young white boy, and the people of the town.
Welty portrays Phoenix's character with a sense of warmth. We know she is an old black woman and as she travels through rough terrain we get a sense of sorrow for her. Her battle with nature begins with her brutal walk through the outdoors. Her long hard walk symbolizes her life and her struggles along the way. She talks to herself and her surroundings constantly.
When Phoenix comes across the black dog, she talks to the young white boy with a sense of inferiority. He is a white male and she is just a black woman. When she notices a nickel fall out of his pocket, she soon changes her attitude and tries to hurry the boy away. After she picks up the nickel, she feels guilty. When the boy returns to her, he tells her "I"d give you a dime if I had any money with me." Ironically, he did have money with him, yet it fell out of his pocket and Phoenix got it anyway. She reprimands herself for keeping the nickel and says, "God watching me the whole time. I come to stealing." .
As Phoenix pushed on, she made it into town. She asked a woman to tie her shoelaces because she says, "do all right for out in the country, but wouldn"t look right to go in a big building.